Local artist and muralist Hannah Gumbo’s art has become a fixture in Lafayette, embodying the colorful and lively spirit of Acadiana through her bold and bright designs. Her latest installation at the Lafayette Visitor Center combines sustainability with hospitality.
A Lafayette native and lifelong artist, Gumbo graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a degree in fine art and a concentration in painting. After graduating, she found her work in demand for local projects such as album covers, t-shirts and festival posters. Working with clients was uncharted territory, but she made the decision to adapt to a growing clientele.
“I kind of just leaned into that and became passionate about it even though I didn’t really have much of a background,” she says. “That’s still my philosophy today: just to look at the work that’s available and try to maybe learn a new skill to be able to complete that project.”
The decision to evolve as an artist paid off. Not only did she discover her passion, her work has left its mark across Lafayette. Whether you’re walking Downtown by Pop’s Poboys, catching a game at the Cajundome, or checking out a book at the library, Gumbo’s work is a visual love letter to the city.
It’s a fitting relationship. Community is integral to her mural work– in its conception, installation and impact. Coming together with other creatives offers her invaluable synergy, and the extra hands allow for larger-than-life ideas to come to fruition.
“I really enjoy projects that feel like they’re continuing to kind of evolve and grow. And a lot of the mural projects are like that for me,” she says. “It starts off with a sketch. And then I install it, and it’s long days and the elements. But after that I’m kind of hands off, and I see pictures trickle in from people’s weddings, or graduation or just hanging out. And it kind of takes on a life of its own.”
Her latest installation uses upcycled filing cabinets to create a welcome sign as tourists turn into the Lafayette Visitor Center.
In its second phase, the project, in collaboration with Keep Louisiana Beautiful, the Acadiana Native Plant Project and Lafayette Consolidated Government, will host a variety of native plants such as palmetto, purple cone flowers, and indian blanket.
In the future, Gumbo hopes to continue her custom work, but also to expand her into licensing projects like fabric so that her work will continue to transform through others’ utilization of it.
Overall, Gumbo wants Lafayette to continue to celebrate the artists that give the town its unique flavor:
“Open your eyes and start noticing signatures on work around town. There’s so many amazing artists that are doing cool things and we’re really lucky to live here.”